Friday, March 30, 2018

Post-Game 1 Thread / At-Game Recap: Dodgers Opening Day 2018, 60 Year Anniversary

The 2018 Dodgers take the field.

The Dodgers had their 2018 Opening Day yesterday afternoon at Dodger Stadium, and it was without a doubt the worst Opening Day I've attended in probably a decade. I remember Orlando Hudson hitting for the cycle on Opening Day 2009. I remember 2012 when Matt Kemp hit a home run in the home opener. I remember 2013 when we shut out the Giants, Clayton Kershaw outdueling Matt Cain.

And of course, I vividly remember watching the Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks in Sydney, Australia, for the MLB season opening series.

2018 Opening Day? It was not fun. The Dodgers lost, 1-0 to the Giants, despite a great Clayton Kershaw outing that was blemished by a cheapie Joe Panik shot that just slipped inside the right field foul pole. It wasn't Clayton's fault, though; he went six innings and had seven Ks, scattering eight hits and yielding just the one earned run.

The Dodgers' offense, though, was simply woeful. The top five in our lineup: Chris Taylor, Corey Seager, Yasiel Puig, Kike Hernandez, and Cody Bellinger, all went a collective 0-for-17 with two walks (both Hernandez) and eight Ks (two each from the other four players). All of them looked like they were trying to swing for the fences and lost patience. Taylor was caught looking (a la Carlos Beltran) with the Dodgers' last best chance (runners at the corners with two out in the seventh). (To be fair, Taylor knew it, and looked really pissed off after that wasted opportunity.)

Yasmani Grandal went 2-for-3 but also was swinging mightily. It's so bad, Kershaw himself leads the Dodgers in batting average, having gone 2-for-2 (and showing more patience than most of the other guys in the lineup).

Do we miss Justin Turner? Absolutely. This team had none of the complexion of the 2017 National League Champions. In fact, they looked a little like the Dodgers teams in the late 2000s where they could barely eke out runs, so much so that when we got behind, it felt like it was over.

Really, a bad performance by the Dodgers yesterday. The sewage spill from Tuesday's preseason game might have been repaired, but the product on the field still had a little bit of a stench.

The Dodgers' 60-year anniversary logo, on the left field edifice.

On top of all that, the pageantry that is normally incredible for Opening Day, felt a little bit...muted. The national anthem was passable but the flyover came late (bad timing). The pre-game montage honoring Kirk Gibson, who threw out the first pitch, was compassionate, but didn't feel inspiring. In fact, the 60 years anniversary that the Dodgers are celebrating in Los Angeles, made the team feel more steeped in history rather than currently relevant.

I didn't like this Opening Day.

They fixed the padding on my seat (which is good!). However...

...the new netting that extends to the edge of the dugout will take some getting used to.

So about this extended netting. I get it, I appreciate the need for improved safety, and I have to say, it was nice to finally not have to freak out every time a left-handed batter was going up against Kershaw, just in case a late swing on a fastball would have a ball come rocketing into my section (I've seen it happen, and that's why you have to pay attention to the game!). And I agree with Deadspin, the NYT Op-Ed piece complaining about the netting is lame.

But the netting did make it more difficult to see the right field scoreboard from our seats; the new upper-and-lowercase fonts for the team lineups is particularly difficult to make out. Plus, the left field scoreboard was so busy prompting factoids about the batters (would have loved to have seen "Buster Posey's name anagrams to 'Oyster Pubes'!"), that it didn't show the key relevant fact recapping prior at-bats that game.

The pregame video montages were fine--and we saw a lot of them, arriving at the stadium two hours before first pitch--but behind the netting, it all just felt a little...distant.

At least the player introductions were sweet:

Yeah, it's always great to be at Dodger Stadium for Opening Day. This one was just not as cool as the other ones I've been lucky to attend. And of course, the outcome sucked; we shouldn't be losing to the Giants, like, ever. It was nice to have a 4p start, even if it did seem like everything was a little off, all day.

But man, we miss Turner. Get well soon, JT.


Delino DeShields, Sr said...

Don't stop believing.